The Wait is Over!

Student/Admin. Collaboration Leads to Change in Wait Time at 161 Exit


Gannon Wentz

The view from the TWHS parking lot exit onto 161

Until recently, the exit from the Thomas Worthington High School parking lot onto State Route 161 was a significant issue for parents and students as a result of the extended wait time to exit the parking lot. However, as of October 22nd, the wait is over. The rush for the exit and the resulting input from students prompted the City of Worthington to change the timing of the traffic light at the school’s exit.

 For years students struggle with one exit for 1900 students, often taking up to 30 minutes to leave the parking lot. Students are excited that their daily delay is coming to an end.

The light has been a significant issue for many years. A few light studies have been done to see the traffic patterns of students exiting the school parking lot. Traffic on State Route 161 has historically been the main consideration; the fear was that if the school light was green for too long there would be a backup of traffic on 161.

Senior class president, Josh Hickman, was able to solve the problem of the light with support from Principal Scully and Superintendent, Trent Bowers. Hickman contacted the city manager, Matt Greason, who was hesitant at first because of the fear of disrupting traffic on 161. 

“We started to put more pressure on [the city],” Hickman said. “We even got Dr.Bowers involved which was huge. From 3:00 to 3:30 we will get more time and it will be easier for everyone to leave the school”. 

Student frustration was one of the driving forces behind the changes. 

 “Everyone drives now and it gets kinda frustrating”, said junior Zoe Limbach. “Everyone is getting out at the same spot, I wish that the school was divided so we can let certain students leave so we’re not all backed up”.

Not all the traffic is from student drivers. Many of the cars belong to the parent line trying to pick up the students that don’t walk, drive or take the bus to school. 

“I think parents should not pick up their kids in the parking lot and it adds to the amount of cars trying to leave, and it would be nice to have a separate place to pick up your kids that aren’t taking the bus or driving themselves home”, Limbach said. “It would save a lot of time for both parents and students. If the students and staff come together and bring the issue to Mr. Scully, the problem will be solved”.

Many students resorted to tailgating teachers through the staff exit in desperation. Thousands of dollars have been spent to fix the back gate from students tailgating teachers to get out faster 

“Yes, I would [tailgate], said Senior Aidan Crowley. “I’ve done it before to get out faster”.

Ideally, the change in the timing of the light will solve a number of problems around the mad dash to leave school grounds. However, the lasting impact remains to be seen.